ADPH: Pregnant women, other eligible Alabamians ages 12 and up urged to be vaccinated for COVID-19

Published 11:39 am Friday, September 17, 2021

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As dozens of pregnant women and pediatric patients with COVID-19 in Alabama are hospitalized each day, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) urges all pregnant women and all eligible adolescents ages 12 through 17 to be vaccinated against COVID-19. In addition to hospitalization, pregnant women and children are being treated in intensive care units and placed on mechanical ventilation.
“We want all eligible people vaccinated as quickly as possible,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said. “We are especially concerned about the recent hospitalizations of pregnant women and children in our state. It is important for everyone to know that safe, highly effective and free vaccines are available statewide to protect against potential harm from COVID infection.”
In the past seven days, an average of 23 pregnant women and 46 pediatric patients in Alabama were hospitalized each day, three pregnant women and 17 children were treated in ICUs, and an average of 8 pediatric patients were on ventilators daily.
Dr. Grace Thomas, Medical Officer for Family Health Services, ADPH, said, “The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine recommend that all pregnant individuals be vaccinated against COVID-19. This guidance includes women planning to become pregnant, who have become or have been pregnant recently, and who are breastfeeding.”
Evidence from tens of thousands of reporting individuals over the past several months has demonstrated the safe use of the COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy. Data review has indicated that COVID-19 infection puts pregnant women at increased risk of severe complications including death. Seven pregnant women have died from COVID-19 in Alabama; three deaths in 2020 and four deaths in 2021. Given the risks of COVID-19 in pregnancy, women who test positive for the virus should immediately speak to their physician about the use of monoclonal antibody treatment to reduce the severity of disease and hospitalization.
In addition, unvaccinated children are at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 to others, yet less than one-third of adolescents in the state are vaccinated. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for children 12 years and older and fully approved for ages 16 and older. Vaccination can help keep people of all ages from getting seriously ill, even if they do get COVID-19.
Pediatrician and District Medical Officer Dr. Karen Landers said 6 to 10 percent of children who have had COVID-19 will experience long-term side effects that can last from weeks to months and are of differing severity. Symptoms include inability to concentrate, chronic headaches, shortness of breath, fatigue and heart palpitations.
“I am concerned about the long-term COVID-19 side effects that can be significant for children trying to learn,” Dr. Landers said. “Children don’t always let their parents know how they are feeling, so parents need to be alert to any changes in their children, especially if they know their child has had COVID.”
More information about COVID-19 is available at

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